Claim 4: The bitcoin community is hostile to banks
The bitcoin community is doubtlessly critical of banks. It is not a coincidence that
bitcoin was created during the global financial crisis, in 2009. Satoshi
Nakamoto, the anonymous creator of bitcoin, included the message “The Times
03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks” in the first bitcoin
However, in all probability only a minor group of the bitcoin community is
really hostile to banks and uses the slogan “unbank the banked”. The core
community aims to make banking services available to the poorest of the poor.
Providing these people with financial products will be a major challenge for
traditional banks for the foreseeable future.
Many people in the developing
countries are living from hand to mouth, have no access to education and do not
even hold an identity card. Thus, they cannot open a bank account and
obviously do not have access to other financial products.
“Bank the unbanked”: Can bitcoin
supplement traditional banking?
However, these people often own smartphones or will own them in the near
future. As soon as bitcoin exchanges and wallets become more user-friendly,
they might use bitcoin as a means of payment. This might give them access to
other financial products in time. Thus, the focus of the bitcoin community is
rather “bank the unbanked”.
In this respect, bitcoin can indeed supplement
traditional banking. If people in the developing countries had access to financial
products, global growth might receive another boost. And this might ultimately
be beneficial for banks, too, for example if credit demand rises due to large-
scale infrastructure projects. Thus, while the bitcoin community may be critical of
banks, it is not hostile to them. Moreover, banks, too, might benefit from a
successful effort to “bank the unbanked” with the help of bitcoin.